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Want to Quickly Catch Up on Tech News While on the Go? Try Riversip

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Keeping up with the constant flow of tech news can be hard. Sites like Techmeme make it easy to get a quick overview of what the hottest stories are right now, but it’s a bit harder to see the top stories of the last day or so that may have already fallen out of the tech blogosphere’s collective attention. With the free Riversip app for the iPhone, though, it’s now easy to quickly catch up on the latest tech news, though. Riversip uses its own proprietary algorithms that analyze a mix of social signals to decide how interesting it is. The app then displays them in descending order. You can set the app to display the current crop of top news stories, as well as the top stories of the last day or week.

Riversip tech news reader iphone

The Riversip team says that its mission is to “to give a user the soothing feeling of ‘I know what’s going on’, without having to work at it.” That’s indeed something the app succeeds in. The stories that are featured in the app are often quite similar to those you would see on Techmeme, though often from different sources. The app also assigns tags to every story, which allows you to build your then drill down into these areas (think mobile, web, gadgets etc.) and create your own personalized view of the news.

Algo-Social Recommendations

While the app can incorporate data from your own Twitter and Facebook feeds, this isn’t mandatory. It’s worth noting that this isn’t the highly sophisticated, algorithm-based personalization you would see in apps like Zite or My6sense, but then the idea behind the app isn’t so much to create a personalized magazine for you, but to allow you to get a quick view of what the web as a whole thought was worth reading. Riversip looks at the public conversations around an event to see how notable it is.

Riversip is likely only the first in a range of apps that will use this technology. It’s easy to imagine a Riversip app for political or sports news, for example.

As the company notes, the app should be especially useful for catching up on the news after a holiday or a long weekend away. Given that the Thanksgiving Weekend is just around the corner in the U.S., now would be a good time to give the app a try.

 




7:32 pm


Techmeme Posts The Techmeme Guide to Getting on Techmeme

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More so than any other site on the Internet, tech news aggregator Techmeme reflects and influences what the big tech news stories of the day is going to be. What started as a small project by former Intel engineer Gabe Rivera in late 2005 has now become the go-to site for tech enthusiast and the writers who write for them. What’s remained pretty illusive for quite a few writers and readers, though, is how Techmeme actually decides whether a given story is worth a full-blown headline, a “discussion” link or not worthy of inclusion altogether. Earlier today, Rivera provided the site’s users (that is, both its readers and the writers who want to be featured) with some insight into how the site works and why he and his team pick the stories they do.

What’s this Techmeme Thing You are Talking About?

techmeme_small_sideFor those not steeped in the arcane arts of Techmeme, it’s worth noting that the aggregator uses a mix of algorithms and human editors to choose the tech-focused stories it features on the site. For publishers, getting on Techmeme – and especially getting the headline for a major story – brings a major boost in traffic directly from the site, but also follow-up links from other sites, as many writers today look at Techmeme as a kind of virtual assignment desk. Besides the main headlines, Techmeme also often picks secondary headlines that provide additional context. In addition, it aggregates related stories in the “discussion” section underneath the main headline, but these generally don’t drive a lot of eyeballs to a story.

So How Do I Get on Techmeme? Write Good Stories, Be Smart and Be Fast

According to Rivera, he and his team look for three main factors when deciding on which story to feature. A story can either be a “huge exclusive story, well conveyed,” a “huge non-exclusive story, exceptionally conveyed,” or “an interesting, yet not so (obviously) huge story.”

All of these things will help you to get on Techmeme, though given how the algorithm works, it also helps if lots of people link to it or if you alert the Techmeme team of the story by  posting a tweet with a link and the words “tip @techmeme” in it.

In addition, Rivera also spelled out some do’s and don’ts for those who want to get on Techmeme. The basic gist here, I think, is that you should write interesting stories – and do so fast enough for them to still be relevant. You don’t need to have a huge exclusive story to be featured, but your analysis has to be interesting (and preferably different from what everybody else is writing).

Some of the advice is obvious (stories with major factual errors will likely be ignored, don’t write about old news etc.), but its nice to see the Techmeme team emphasize that speed isn’t all that matters and that writing a good headline can often be more important than being first.

Most tech writers figured most of these things out long ago and often tailor their writing accordingly, of course. As Rivera notes, though, it’s not just about Techmeme, “the very same practices can lead to more retweets and more pickup beyond the world attuned to Techmeme.”

For more details on how to land that elusive Techmeme headline, take a look at Rivera’s full post.



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